Thursday (April 22nd): Biden’s Earth Day Summit

Joe Biden
Joe Biden

Name? Joseph Biden

Westphalian identity? United States American

Age? 78

Why is he in the news? President Biden is hosting a global summit meeting with nearly 40 other countries (virtually) today and tomorrow, cleverly starting on Earth Day. Many expect the U.S. President to announce an ambitious new target for the U.S. that aims to cut planet-warming emissions in half by the end of the decade.

Why do we care? The new goal set by the Biden administration will nearly double the pledge of the Obama administration–meaning the target will be in a range that will aim to cut emissions around 50% from 2005 deals. However, we care about seeing whether Biden will truly walk the talk of mitigating climate change.

Why should you care? Because despite the last four years of rocky foreign policy, particularly with regard to climate change, the U.S. still holds some influence on the global stage. With Biden’s renewed American commitment, he hopes to not only boost his reputation but also boost the commitments of the many nations attending the summit. You should care 8/10. 

Who else cares? Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro. When the Biden administration entered office, Bolsonaro lost his compatriot against acknowledging climate change, Donald Trump. A year later, Bolsonaro is promising that Brazil will play a pivotal role in the summit this week, going so far as to pledge that illegal deforestation in Brazil will end by 2030. The catch? Bolsonaro wants the international community to pay for the conservation initiatives … with no real constraints on the money…

Any further comments? These substantial and somewhat shocking commitments by world leaders prior to the summit have many skeptical of seeing any real change. In order to meet these goals in the U.S. or Brazil, transformative change will need to happen in their economies. Let’s see how much real change can be achieved through an online summit.

Sarah McFadden

Team Member of Research & Analysis